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School of Business | Department of Marketing and Management | Marketing | 2010
Thesis number: 12281
Package cues and their influence on the perception of Premium quality of Premium private label products
Author: Immonen, Lotta
Title: Package cues and their influence on the perception of Premium quality of Premium private label products
Year: 2010  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing and Management
Academic subject: Marketing
Index terms: markkinointi; marketing; pakkaukset; packages; tuotemerkit; trademarks; kauppa; commerce; brandit; brands; imago; image; kuluttajakäyttäytyminen; consumer behaviour
Pages: 135
Full text:
» hse_ethesis_12281.pdf pdf  size:3 MB (3021209)
Key terms: Cue utilization theory, package communication, premium products, private label products
Objective of the study

In this study, a topic which has received little attention in the package and consumer good research: the packages of premium private label products, was studied. For this purpose two of the few products suiting the definition of premium private label products in the Finnish grocery sector were selected. These products belonged to the ground coffee category and were produced on behalf of a known Finnish retailer. The aim of the study was to find out what package attributes influence consumers’ quality assessment of premium private label coffee products. This was answered through studying which package attributes imply a coffee product is of good/bad quality, which package attributes communicate, a product fulfills the consumer needs of a premium product purchaser, and finally which package attributes signal good value for money.

Research method

This study is qualitative in nature. The qualitative method chosen was focus group interviews, due to its potential to reveal attitudes and affective responses to elusive topics, such as perceptions of premium quality. Three focus group discussions were conducted, each with five to six participants representing a population of young, educated consumers. The discussions followed a semi-structured interview guide allowing the emergence of topics of discussion by respondent initiative.


The main findings from this study are fourfold. First, on the topic of package attributes that imply a coffee product is of good (or conversely bad) quality, some specific visual and informational cues could be found. The strongest high-quality associations were spurred by (1) the small size of the package, (2) the soft pouch-like shape of the package, (3) the perceived attractiveness of the package, (4) a degree of uncommonness of the package differentiating the product from other products, and (5) favorable brand associations. Second, when assessing which packaging attributes communicate, a product fulfills the consumer needs of a premium product purchaser, the findings suggest, the use of the high-quality implying cues communicate a premium product identity. On account of the higher levels of consumer needs in buying premium products, self enhancement seems to be connected to the activity. Third, it seems like in the coffee category, private label brands do not signal a good value for money in any clear way. This seems to be a factor of coffee not being viewed as a commodity and thus the lower price of these products does not quite seem to compensate for their perceived poor intrinsic quality. The poor perception of quality seems to be a factor of (1) unattractive packaging and (2) the stigma of private label products in general. Fourth, it seems like a premium private label product is primarily perceived as a premium product. Thus, high-quality signaling cues seem to be more important for a premium private label product, than any cues signaling a good value for money.
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